Papua New Guinea’s first prime minister, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, has died at the age of 84.
- Sir Michael served 17 years as prime minister over four terms
- He was a teacher and radio journalist before entering politics in 1968
- Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1990, he is survived by his wife of 56 years
Known as the father of the nation, Sir Michael led PNG into independence from Australia in 1975 and was one of the country’s longest-serving politicians, with a career that spanned five decades.
The news was confirmed by members of his family.
He died early this morning after being diagnosed with a late-stage pancreatic cancer and admitted to hospital on February 19, his family members said in a statement.